Barbara began to search for ‘something more’ in September 2018. After recognising her addiction to alcohol, she decided to attend a 12-step Rehab Centre, and over twelve weeks was taught to follow the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This started her thinking about whether there really was a God in the world.
Once back home, she continued to think about whether there was a higher power, but struggled to find any sort of meaningful spirituality. Barbara shared, “I tried Buddhism, Mother Earth, the force of the universe and read up about Christianity, but over the next couple of years I didn’t make much progress and relapsed many times. I ended up back in rehab twice more as the disease continued to get worse.”
But during this time, there was some hope. “I made a friend who attends Ashford Vineyard, and then I started to volunteer at the food bank and other compassion ministries. Just being around the church and the people made me more curious about God and I so decided to go on an Alpha course. It was because of Alpha, and also the many ‘ God moments’ that I seemed to have that I finally realised that God was and always had been with me.
The people at Ashford Vineyard began to pray for me, and showed me how to pray to God myself. As I felt the Holy Spirit grow within me, I started to feel a deep peace. I decided to embrace it fully and to give myself over to God.”
One Sunday, Barabara heard Chris, one of the Senior Pastors at Ashford Vineyard, talk about the upcoming beach baptism they were going to have. “It was then that I knew that baptism was something that I wanted to do, and so I approached Chris for a chat about it. But, in fact, he didn’t chat, he just said, “Bring a towel and a change of clothes. I’ll see you on Sunday.”
Choosing to get baptised was an amazing experience. Since then, I have felt that God is with me every minute of every day. Later, when I shared with Chris that I’d wanted to chat first we laughed and realised that it was another God moment. I had been afraid and given half a chance I may have talked myself out of getting baptised!
Although my disease is still very real, I know that I never need to feel alone. I am deeply loved, and I know that God has an incredible plan for my life.”